Show Me Thy Glory
Bible Reading: Exodus 33:12-23
“Who is adequate for these things” (2 Corinthians 2:16)?
Cue the “Mission Impossible” theme music and let’s review how Moses found himself in his predicament… He was a humble and reluctant leader, yet nonetheless He’s the one God chose to lead His people out of Egypt. With Aaron as his spokesperson, God worked through Moses to reveal Himself to Pharaoh and the entire nation of Egypt in a series of plagues. After the plague of the first born, Pharaoh kicked Israel out of Egypt, only later to give chase. In that epic miracle, God parted the Red Sea, allowing His people to pass. Then in a mighty surge display of His power, the ocean swallowed up the mighty Egyptian army when the water rushed back in upon them.
You’d have thought the miracle would work to engender trust in God in His people. But instead, we read in the next several chapters of something which sounds like the worst family vacation ever. With a huge multitude of Israelites journeying across the Sinai Peninsula, they soon ran out of provisions. Sadly, the people complained–a lot! Despite their lack of trust, God provided for them: quail, water, and bread from heaven.
Three months after leaving Egypt, Israel set up camp at the base of Mt. Sinai. God called Moses up the mountain and delivered a covenant through him to His people. At the heart of the covenant was a promise, “If you will obey Me, I will bless you.” But while Moses was up on the mountain, the people committed the grievous sin of making for themselves an idolatrous golden calf. In response Moses found himself interceding on behalf of the people lest God destroy them all and make a great nation out of him alone. Still, three thousand died by the sword and the Lord sent a plague on the people.
So that was Moses’ “Mission Impossible” task. Lead that multitude of grumbling, stiff-necked people to the promised land! The task had proven difficult enough already. It literally drove Moses to his knees in intercession. It’s interesting and instructive to note what it is Moses actually asked for in his prayers. We all face challenges. We are prone to pray circumstantially. By this I mean we tend to pray for God to alleviate or change our circumstances. But as we shall see in Moses’ situation, his prayers were not circumstantial, but relational.
Moses understands he’s been called to the task, and he knows he’s found favor in God’s sight. He wisely wants to be careful to please God in everything. His prayer was, “please show me now your ways” (Exodus 33:13). Moses had witnessed the tragic consequences associated with sin. In leading God’s people, he wanted to be careful to walk and lead according to God’s ways so he and the people would be blessed. God reassured Moses His presence would go with him. Moses responded with a second request, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). In other words, if You aren’t going with us God, I’m not going anywhere. Moses was aware it was the presence of God which set apart His people “from every other people on the face of the earth” (Exodus 33:16). And without God’s presence, they would never get to where they were going. Still Moses had yet another specific request, which stands as one of the most precious of all prayer requests we read of in all the Bible. “Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory’” (Exodus 33:18). God didn’t say yes to that request, but He didn’t say no either. It was not possible for Moses to see God’s face and live, so God graciously put Moses in the cleft of a rock, covered him with His hand, until He passed by. So, in that way, Moses saw God’s back, but not His face.
No matter who you are, or where you are going, the task God has for you in this present world is way too big for you. God’s plan for you is to conform you to Christlikeness and bring you home to glory. That’s too big a task for you! God has purposed to make Himself known through you to other folks, including your family members and friends and even neighbors and strangers. Again, that’s too big a task for you! Sometimes our prayers don’t rise high enough, or they miss the mark when it comes to our focus. Moses’ prayer is so immensely helpful, because it reminds us at the heart of our prayers is the matter of chief concern–our own relationship with God. Teach me Your ways, Lord, by the Spirit and through the Word, that I might please You in all things. Thank You for Your abiding presence in me, Lord Jesus, help me walk always so very close to You (Ephesians 3:17). Show me Your glory, Lord Jesus, that I would be awestruck by You, even as the Spirit is even now working to that end, that I would be transformed into Your image (2 Corinthians 3:18)! Moses faced an impossible task, so he prayed to the God with whom all things are possible. And you can do that too!
Chief Amongst Our Prayer Concerns Should be the Desires to Know God Better and to Walk in Closer Fellowship with Him
HE HIDETH MY SOUL
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
a wonderful Savior to me.
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
where rivers of pleasure I see.
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
that shadows a dry, thirsty land.
He hideth my life in the depths of his love,
and covers me there with his hand,
and covers me there with his hand.
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord;
he taketh my burden away.
He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved;
he giveth me strength as my day. [Refrain]
With numberless blessings each moment he crowns,
and filled with his fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, “Oh, glory to God
for such a Redeemer as mine!” [Refrain]
When clothed in his brightness, transported I rise
to meet him in clouds of the sky,
his perfect salvation, his wonderful love,
I’ll shout with the millions on high. [Refrain]